A Paradox Concerning Science and Knowledge
Cuonzo (Margaret)
Source: Sorites 17, December 2006
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

    Quine’s and Duhem’s problem regarding the «laying of blame» that occurs when an experimental result conflicts with a scientific hypothesis can be put in the form of a standard philosophical paradox. According to one definition, a philosophical paradox is an argument with seemingly true premises, employing apparently correct reasoning, with an obviously false or contradictory conclusion. The Quine/Duhem problem, put in the form of a paradox, is a special case of the skeptical paradox. I argue that both the Quine/Duhem paradox and the skeptical paradox enjoy the same type of solution. Both paradoxes have the kind of restricted solution that Stephen Schiffer calls «mildly unhappy-face» solutions. Although there can be no solution to these two paradoxes that gives an accurate account of the relevant notions (e.g., knowledge), replacement notions are given for the ones that lead to the paradoxes.


Filed electronically with the full edition of Sorites 17

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